CREDOS : Deaf, by Jove — I

On the anonymous-confession website the other day, someone wrote, “I’m scared that because I’m minoring in American Sign Language in college my kids will be deaf one day.” Immediately, I wanted to find the person who wrote that, shake them up, tell them that deafness is not the end of the world. That I believe it’s made me work harder to prove that not only was I as good as everyone else, but I could be better. To prove I could be the best dancer, the best writer, the best basketball player, the best student, the best whatever it was that I wanted to be.

I should clarify. I wasn’t born deaf. Deafness is something that came to me shortly before my 18th birthday. For 15 or so years prior to that, I was simply hearing impaired.

I wore a beige compact device clipped snugly against my ear, the mold often a clear colour, shielded by long hair and extravagant earrings. I’ve never learned to sign more than the alphabet and a few words, and that was my decision. I chose to be part of the oral world, knowing full well that my role in that world would be a much different one than most.

I don’t exist in the realm of true deaf individuals,

fingers flashing and lips moving in a mimicry of what sound must look like. But I don’t entirely fall easily into the hearing realm either. When my boss pronounces a name I’m unfamiliar with, I must ask her to write it down because certain letters get lost. —